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Protestors Oppose Iraq War, but Not the Warriors

As protests mark the anniversary of the start of America's involvement in Iraq, protestors note support for troops.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Several protests and vigils were organized Monday night in the Triangle to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. way in Iraq.

Some protestors are just as passionate about supporting the troops as they are about ending the conflict.

Candice Lynn Davies has helped to organize one vigil. She said she is against the war, but she also is patriotic, supports the troops, wants to keep them safe, bring them home.

“But I also want to question this country because this country came to be because people questioned what was right,” Davies said.

Michael Bruce Edwards, state adjutant of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said Davies position is tenable, but it requires care to have people understand that one is against the war but in support of the warriors.

Asked if he thought it possible to support the troops and be against the war, Edwards said, “Oh yes, I think so. But I think you have to be real careful. You certainly don't want anything happening like it did in Vietnam with the soldiers treated that way.”

Michael J. Allen, an assistant professor of history at N.C. State University, sees a Vietnam legacy for today’s war opponents.

“The protestors today, I think, have a certain kind of phobia of becoming too aggressive because there is this sense that in Vietnam, anti-war protests went too far,” Allen said.

One difference from that era, Davies said, is the Internet. People can put their opinions on the Web rather than voice them on the street.

It may dilute effectiveness.

“In order to push, you know, politicians into doing stuff, you got to really make the news and you got to put some pressure on them, and I don't think these protests are doing that,” Edwards said.

It’s an ongoing challenge.

“You might get your message out if you become more passionate, but what message are you sending? Allen said.

Is it a mixed message?

“It's not black and white. It's not right and wrong,” Davies said. Opposition to the war and support for the troops have to coexist.


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